Miles: 26.6

Camp: My CDT mile 1544.3

The coyotes stayed close in the night at one point yipping it up probably within a couple hundred feet of me. I know they don’t want to mess with humans, but they make some pretty unsettling sounds in the night…hard to sleep to. I did a lot of tossing and turning, staring at an endless sea of stars, not waking up until after the sun rose. No worry though, I was planning a bit of a shorter day since I’m approaching town. I don’t want to get in during the evening, especially since South Pass City is nothing more than a general store. No showers, laundry, town food, postcards or comfy beds; just in to pick up my box and right out again.

Today was another day of cows and their stinky work in the water supply. I did manage to fetch water from a spring, but they either got to that or my bottles are now stained with the taste. I began to try and put it in perspective. In some areas of the world, I would be willing to bet that this would be better water than they could even imagine. Some people have never had water that tastes this good and here I am complaining. “No, I’m not too good for this,” I thought.

Newfound attitude and a genuine enjoyment of the day I came across a band of wild horses. Are horses considered a herd? I like band, but whatever. I was lamenting their distance from me as I walked past, wanting a closer look. One of them was much closer to me and kept a keen eye on my progress past the band. I kept my distance and walked right by. A few hundred paces away I heard footsteps behind me, so I turned around to see the entire band approaching me. They trotted up to maybe 100 feet away and then stopped. We all just looked at each other and I was smiling from ear to ear. After a couple of minutes they slowly moved away, clearly not frightened of me…just curious I guess. It was a way cool moment.

That was definitely one of my coolest life moments to date.

The rest of the day was spent pondering all manner of topics. I thought a lot about cows as I have never spent so much time around them. They annoy me ever so slightly because they poop in the water, but they are too dumb to hold any real grudges for them. Most of them are black as night and I wonder if they sweat…and what the heck do they talk about? They are pretty vocal with each other, even when they don’t really know I’m around. I imagine their conversations are typically about the grass they are eating and when they might want to move to a new patch of grass. I don’t know, they can be pretty passionate speakers sometimes and they are awfully sweet when protecting their young. I like them, but not enough to stop eating steak. I bet these guys in particular are pretty delicious…pure free range cattle!

Other than that, the day was pretty mellow. A nice couple offered me a ride on the road…my first human contact in almost 4 days. I’m still not lonely, but I think about people a lot. I think about all of the amazing people in my life and how I want to find a way to express that to all of them…a lot of whom are reading this. So, hello to all of you amazing people and thank you so much for reading and supporting my hike. I can’t say enough how it gets me through to know you are there in one way, shape or form. I’m never alone with the band of family and friends I have collected over the years, especially since so many of you are helping me be here in one way or another. Everything you all do helps so much and I truly couldn’t do it without you. It is how I know I’m never alone.

I had set up camp in the middle of the desert but a wind storm started rolling through. It forced me to stuff everything away and hike on…and I’m so glad I did. I found a spot in the foothills among some pine trees. The wind still blows but I’m more sheltered here and it smells like pine. Life is good.

Did I mention that my feet barely hurt today? It feels good to feel good again! Just in time to head back to the mountains. 

Dinner: tuna wrap with bacon bits and cheese